6 OCTOBER 1866, Page 15


FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.] Woodside, Deal, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Sept. 21, 1866. THE first name in the date of my letter is not that of a village, but of a country place or large farm, where I am passing part of my vacation. It lies upon the eastern shore of New Jersey, and the nearest railway station, between four and five miles off, is two hours from New York by steamboat and rail. It is little more than a mile in a straight line from the house to the beach, where the Atlantic roars without ceasing, and where there is the finest surf bathing in the country, though somewhat dangerous, from the size of the rollers and the strength of the under-tow. In sight from the upper windows of the house is Long Branch, of late the most frequented of our watering-places—a dreary habitation, in my eyes, for man or beast A flat, treeless waste, on which, however, the turf comes down to the very beach, where stand a dozen or more huge, rectangular, flat-sided, wooden caravanseras, in which

respectively from 300 to 800 people sleep separately or in pairs in little hot rooms a dozen feet square, or eat iu mass meeting in vast dining-halls, one of which reaches the enormous length of 600 feet. For these privileges, enjoyed amid the perpetual burning glare of sea and sand (for the hotels are directly upon the shore) together with that of having at pleasure eyes, and ears, and mouth filled with salt water, and wits confused in the comb of a breaker, about 10,000 people at a time for the past three months have paid five dollars each a day, which extras and contingent expenses must have raised to twice or three times that sum even for the moderate. At a single hotel there were 350 horses in stable brought down by guests. Somewhat removed from these hotels arc many smirking sea-side villas, standing without mitigation of tree or shrub in the very eye of the sun, in bare and shameless newness, habitations of thriving money-changers and dry-goods persons. But sitting here and looking out upon the wood skirted lawn and meadow and fields of waving maize which stretch far away on all sides from this house, you would not suspect that there was a watering-place within a day's journey, hardly that there was a neighbour within an hour's. The place is a little more than a mile square, and on it are about three hundred acres of woodland, nearly half of which is pine forest, the rest being oak and hickory. This wood is cherished by the owner, a Yankee of eight generations by father's and by mother's side, as a Dutch burgomaster cherishes tulips. The house is invisible from any public road, although there is an old right of way through a fine road upon the place from which glimpses may be caught, at half a mile's distance, of its chimneys and gables peeping out of the foliage. The house itself is an irregular, rambling, wooden structure, without any pretence to architectural beauty or symmetry, built at four periods, as the needs of the family required. The corresponding floors of no two of these four parts are on the same level, and in the oldest part passage from one of two contiguous rooms to the other ihvolves a step up or down, which to the uninitiated is somewhat perilous. In the principal room of this part the fire-place is built across one corner, making the room a pentagon. This room and the next, which is now used as a dining-room, are finished without ceiling, the beams overhead being exposed. From the latter room a gigantic fire-place, that stood out like the bastion of a fortress, has been recently removed. In the upper storey of this part, which is reached by a dark enclosed stair- case, with a platform and a low step at the top that must have been the means of breaking many a head and spraining many an allele, are high old mahogany and cherry chests of drawers, standing on short, slender, bandy legs, that seem to have bent under the weight resting on them, and covered with brass swinging handles ; and at the head of these stairs stands a tall clock, with an inlaid case, over the dial of which a painted sun and moon rise and sat. Clocks like these are much prized by the Yankee folks who have them, huge and cumbrous as they are. This one has marked the hours for this family with its sweet, rich-toned bell for generations. In the hall and elsewhere are antlers, upon which formerly fowling pieces and " Queen's arms" were hung. One over the hall door is now decorated with the Stars and Stripes, an undisturbed remnant of the enthusiasm awakened by the war of the late rebellion. One pair of these antlers, unhappily broken, is that of a deer shot from the very door of the house by the great-grand uncle of the present owner. For this was a great hunting region not very long ago. There were English- men who had hunting lodges here and lived in a great state of squirearchy. There are old people yet in the neighbourhood who can remember seeing them galloping across the country after foxes —a feat which, if they could find the foxes, would nowadays bring them into speedy and close relations with the sheriff of the county. The new part of the house is much larger, and though very simple and unpretending in its appearance, adapted to a more cultivated style of living than the old. I notice, however, that the old part is not only more substantially and thoroughly built than the new, but that it exhibits a greater care for beauty. For instance, the exposed edge of everyone of the clap-boards with which the original house is covered is finished with an ornamental moulding, which appears nowhere else here, and which I do not remember having seen upon any house built within the Last two or three generations. Above the windows of the ground floor, on both sides of the house, projects a small roof or shed, about two feet deep, giving some shelter from sun and weather, and looking like a connecting link between the penthouse roofs of the old timber houses in the Old Home, and the broad piazzas that are now built round country houses here, as for instance, upon the modern part of this house. On one side of the house at a little distance is a pear orchard, containing 450 trees, producing fruit of the most delicious varieties

in high perfection; and around this is a hedge, about five feet high, of Osage orange, a shrub luxuriantly and beautifully green, but armed with cruel thorns, and which is impenetrable to man, beast, or boy. There are many of these hedges in this neighbourhood, the soil and air of which are well suited to the shrub. In the rear, not far off, is a nursery in which are 600 locust trees. This tree is highly prized here, not only for its beauty as a shade tree, but for its timber, which is singularly hard and heavy, and from its indestructibility by dampness and insects is invaluable for posts. Rowdies fear it, for it is used almost exclusively for policemen's clubs. But down here the need of policemen or constables seems hardly to be felt. The doors and windows stand always open and unwatched. At night some show is made of shutting the hall door for form's sake, but the windows on the very ground floor are left open.

The country around is filled with farms, very few if any of which, however, are as large as this. There are no manufac- tories; no mills of any kind except grist and saw mills. All the people here are agriculturists. Who they are, that is, of what blood, may be gathered from their names. In looking over the county map which hangs in the dining room, I noticed these as the most frequently occurring names of proprietors :—Throck- morton, Woolley, Sylvester, Chamberlain, Trueax, Coslies, Apple- gate, White, Herbert, Howland, and Jeffrey. Perhaps the readers of the Spectator will not find these names very foreign in their sound. The villages around are Holmdale, Freehold, Shrewsbury, Fair Haven, Red Bank, Blue Ball, Colt's Neck, the Pole, and, alas ! Lower Squankum. Where Upper Squankum is, and to what it owes its elevation, I have not yet discovered. Just on the other side of the county is the old battle-field of Monmouth, which was nearly lost on our part by General Lee, and which is noted as the only place at which Washington is recorded to have given way to his temper even to swearing in public. He, however, was able to recover his army from the consequences of Lee's blundering or treachery. Most of the people, not only of this part of the county, but of all this part of the State, have lived here, father and son, agricultural folk, for gene- rations. Here the native farm hand is still to be hired, and even that rarity, a Yankee house servant, is found. The buxom, red- cheeked, pink-armed damsel, with redundant bust, who brings me my cup of tea at breakfast, is a Yankee. She will " live out" here among her own people, but she would not do it in New York, or in any place where she would be mixed up with Irish servants. Yet another servant here is Irish, and has lived twenty-six years with her present mistress, and the cook, named Sophy Trusty—the latter name doubtless recording the faithfulness of a slave father or mother—is a portly negress, as black as the ace of spades. I saw her but just now prim in her bright bandanna turban, and very slipshod and shuffling as to her feet, after the negro manner, walking round the circular walk before the house with the toddling baby of the house, his little pink-white hand in her broad black one, and his golden curls, blue eyes, and rosy cheeks thrown out in relief against her huge black arm. She was indulging herself in the little luxury of a promenade, and she did it with an air of amusing dignity. The male factotum of the place, whose cottage stands about a rifle-shot from the house, is a slab-sided, slouching, sharp-featured man, who lives in a slouched hat, and who is about the only person about here whom the unprejudiced British traveller would pick out as a Yankee. He does pretty much as he pleases, and really rules the house- hold in small matters. He speaks of, but not to, the owner of the place as " John," reflecting doubtless that the latter is only about thirty years old and is still a bachelor, whereas he is fifty and a family man. He is a difficult person to throw off the track. He complained one day of severe headache, and one of the family recommended him to take a blue pill. He took four, with a cor- responding dose of castor-oil, and made his appearance as usual next morning, replying to inquiries after his health that he was " as pert as a wren." Habits are simple here, and phraseology, too, in a certain class. A woman in the neighbourhood was to have come here to work, but her daughter came in her stead, saying that her mother " had been up a tree picking cherries on sheers [shares], an fell down an hurt herself scandalous." Just down the road is the house of a small farmer, whose wife has so many little children and so much work to do, that when she scours her milk-pans she takes the children with her and sets them up on a high shelf in a row, like penguins on a rock. There she has them under her eye, or rather over it, while she works, and they dare not fight or cut capers, lest they should fall off the shelf. Poor woman ! In a corresponding position in Eng-

land she would have a stout wench or two at least to help her in her household and dairy work, for her husband owns his little farm of thirty acres. But she cannot afford that here, and so she bears all the trials of maternity and of servitude together, while at the same time she feels the spur of intelligence, and is galled by a sense of equality with her neighbours. I have often thought that, out of slavery, one of the hardest lots in life is that of the wife of a small Yankee farmer in the present gene- ration. This woman's husband, who does all the out-door, as she does all the indoor work upon his little farm, is as independent, as self-reliant, and as self-possessed as the master of Woodside. You could buy the vote of one about as easily as you could that of the other. When they meet it is as perfect equals, and without a thought about their relative position on either side. But they meet very rarely, and the little farmer would never think of such a thing as going to Woodside to make a visit. Because he is poor ? No, many of the visitors at Woodside are as poor as he. What is the distinction, then ? Upon what is it grounded, and how is it enforced? It is simply that of inherited culture. Very few men in this country live in their grandfathers' houses, but still fewer lose their inheritance in a grandfather's culture. The consequent distinction enforces itself by the at- tractive power of affinity in manners, tastes, and habits, and the exercise of the most democratic of all rights, the right of choosing one's company.

There are many guests here now, and at table there come together people with these names,—Corlies, Wharton, Haydock, White, Barker, Hallowell, Penrose, Tilton, Meese, all Yankees by generations of descent. For the last rare old English surname see Camden's Remains. It is the family name of Pierce Butler, Mrs. Fanny Kemble Butler's husband, who changed it on the inheritance of property. On my walk the other morning, I met a white-headed, chubby-cheeked urchin, at whom my dog sniffed suspiciously. " What's your name, my lad ?" " Jack Cade." " Who's your father ?" "John Cade, that keeps the mill." "Are you the Jack Cade that Iden killed ?" " Whaat?" "Are you the Jack Cade that Iden killed ?" " Dunno. Guess I beant : 'mlive yet." Notice that he did not call his father the miller, but said that he kept the mill. This is a characteristic trait. A man here does not sink his personality in his occupation. He does not put up " cheesemonger and bacon factor" on his sign, unless he has but newly arrived from the old country. He merely puts up his name, with "cheese and bacon" after it. On another walk, I saw on a little cottage a sign, " Mrs. Golden, milliner," and I thought of that Mother Golden who the biographers of Shakespeare tell us lived near the poet in London, engaged in not a very reputable occupation. These names are no fabrication of mine. I mention them, as I have mentioned -the others in this letter, because it seems to me sometimes as if Engilslinnen looked to find Hiawatha, Mudje- keewis, Sambo, Quashee, Minehaha, Pat McShane, Walk-in-the- Water, and Hans Pumpernickel, with perhaps Sam Slick, round our dinner-tables, speaking by some mysterious dispensation a strange and uncouth dialect of the English language. My own aunt twenty- five years ago had difficulty in persuading people in England that she was an " American," because of her bright, golden, wavy hair, her fair brow, and rosy cheeks, and because she "spoke such pure English." If she had been a long, raw-boned, swarthy creature, with lank black locks hanging about her ears, like so me English- women I have seen, she would have had no difficulty, I suppose, in spite of her English.